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September 26, 2016 / 23 Elul, 5776
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The Rise of Israel’s Words Warriors

Overlooking incendiary rhetoric is exactly what led to the global delegitimization of Israel.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach debating Richard Dawkins at Oxford, 1996

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach debating Richard Dawkins at Oxford, 1996

Second, the biggest battles for defending Israel today are taking place on college campuses worldwide. But the focus of pro-Israel activism at Universities has been to bring pro-Israel speakers to address student groups. This is a noble effort but is ultimately hampered at many a campus by a fatal flaw. For every one student that come to listen to pro-Israel groups, there are two students that come to protest. The key is to rob them of this victory by inviting Israel’s detractors and their spokespeople to formal debates.

At Oxford, where we witnessed the beginning of the anti-Israel movement on campus which would later sweep the University world, we succeeded in ferocious pro-Israel activism by focusing not principally on speakers but on debates. Our purpose was to demonstrate fearlessness in advocating for Israel’s cause. But things have since deteriorated to such a degree that just last week the Oxford Student Union actually had a vote as to whether or not Israeli academics should be barred from the University.

We must cease being shy about debates and seek them out against Israel’s leading critics. Besides, debates are markedly more interesting than lectures.

The righteousness of Israel’s cause can be established in open argument and Israel can be victorious in the marketplace of ideas. The time has come to passionately engage Israel’s enemies in verbal combat.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

About the Author: Shmuley Boteach, whom the Washington Post calls “the most famous rabbi in America,” is the founder of The World Values Network and the international bestselling author of 30 books, including “The Fed-up Man of Faith: Challenging God in the Face of Tragedy and Suffering.” Follow him on Twitter @RabbiShmuley.


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